The finest-quality jewelry is categorized as fine jewelry, but what is fine jewelry made of, and how is it different from the more popular class of jewelry called fashion or costume jewelry?
And more importantly, is fine jewelry worth investing in?
What is considered fine jewelry?
Jewelry, considered fine jewelry, is often made using 14k gold or even higher quality versions of gold, such as 18k gold. In other words, fine jewelry refers to jewelry that is made using precious metals and precious gemstones.
Besides 18k gold, which most people consider to be the standard for fine jewelry, whether made of yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold, the other materials that are used to make fine jewelry include jewelry varieties made of platinum or sterling silver.
Fine jewelry is also made of high-quality gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. As a result of the quality and type of metals and materials used to make this kind of jewelry, all jewelry varieties that fall in the fine jewelry category are quite expensive.
Fine jewelry is also made to last, and the metals and gemstones used are quite durable, which means that fine jewelry makes the best kinds of everyday jewelry.
Fine jewelry examples
A large variety of jewelry falls in the fine jewelry category, and most of them are made of the finest quality metals and precious stones.
Although there are smaller or little-known brands that deal in and offer the best of fine jewelry varieties, most people associate fine jewelry varieties with designer brands like Cartier; think of the Cartier Love bracelet that is made of solid 18k yellow gold), Pandora has a large array of high-quality sterling silver charm bracelets or even Tiffany that boasts an extensive array of authentic sterling silver, crystal, and diamond pieces.
Fine jewelry brands in modern times
Other than Tiffany & Co, Pandora, and Cartier, several brands create the finest quality fine jewelry options. These are all brands of fine jewelry that boast an array of luxury goods that are priced above the market prices for fashion jewelry options.
The other brands that offer great fine jewelry options include Blue Nile, James Allen, Harry Winston, Chopard, Graff, Bulgari, De Beers, Zales, and Kay Jewelers, among others.
Fine jewelry price range
Depending on the brand or jewelry store you buy your fine jewelry from and the materials the jewelry is made of, the prices for the fine jewelry will vary from a few hundred to thousands.
Designer fine jewelry brands cost thousands and are beyond the reach of many, but several other little-known fine jewelry brands offer high-quality, solid gold 14k and 18k jewelry, as well as jewelry made of 925 sterling silver.
What metals are used in making Fine jewelry?
Fine jewelry is made of precious metals like:
Solid gold – 14k and 18k gold, or even 22K gold as yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold. Note that the use of fine quality, solid gold in jewelry making is not a new practice but one of the more ancient practices in jewelry making that dates back to the times of the ancient Egyptians.
There are also other fine jewelry options made of high-quality pink and green gold. All gold in fine jewelry is bright and shiny, and the metal can be polished easily, even as you enjoy its classic, warm hue, and its overall timeless feel and design.
925 Sterling silver – this is the other timeless option of precious metal that’s been used in all kinds of jewelry for centuries.
It was once more valuable than gold. Today, it’s cheaper than precious metals, and it stands out quite well thanks to its bright white finish and slight grayish color finish. Its matte finish makes it highly desirable.
Platinum – Platinum’s use in high-end jewelry has gone up over the years, especially among individuals searching for high-quality metals that are a great alternative to gold and silver.
But platinum is not a new metal for jewelry; it has been around for decades and was quite common before the war efforts. Its use declined before and during the Second World war because the metal was used in weaponry, and its supply had declined.
But after the war, and with the recovery of platinum supplies, platinum jewelry became popular again. Interestingly, most of the British Crown’s jewels are made using platinum mined from South Africa and Russia.
The soft, silvery-white hue of platinum makes this metal a favorite among many jewelry lovers today. The only catch is that it lacks the warmth seen in gold jewelry.
Palladium – Palladium is an excellent alternative to platinum, and it’s also a common alloy used to make white gold though rhodium is much more popular.
Palladium was discovered in 1803, but its use in jewelry making started in 1939. It’s cheaper than platinum, although they look and feel the same. It’s also used to create white gold leaf.
Tungsten – it’s a high-quality metal that boasts a brilliant shine, and durability, thanks to the fact that it’s up to 4 times harder than titanium.
Though previously used in light bulb filaments, it’s now a common metal used in jewelry where its qualities shine. In addition to being hypoallergenic, it boasts a brilliant shine, and you can find colored options, hence its use in jewelry.
Titanium – titanium might be considered a semi-precious stone; it makes fine quality jewelry because it is hypoallergenic and lightweight. Its silvery, black, or gray finish, in polished or satin finishes, make it an excellent option for most people today.
Aside from the use of precious metals, fine jewelry is also crafted out of high-quality and durable precious stones. These stones include diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, and Emeralds.
Fine jewelry history
Fine jewelry has been around for as long as the earliest human civilizations have lived, having started in earlier societies as protection amulets believed to ward off evil, bad luck, and illnesses.
Silver has been around for as long as gold; both metals were believed to offer the wearer protection from harm and make their lives happier.
Ancient Egyptians were the first of human civilizations to use gold in jewelry making, and this was later picked up in Ancient Greece, where the Greeks made filigree gold, creating some of the most spectacular jewelry designs.
Ancient Romans followed suit and seem to have gotten the art of jewelry making as they made the finest quality gold jewelry. The Greeks and Asians were also the earliest masters of very fine quality gold jewelry, and most of their creations, especially the gold rings, were worn by politicians, ambassadors, and other nobles.
After some years, the middle class picked up on the trend and started wearing gold jewelry. Later on, the military started wearing gold jewelry.
The ancient Chinese also wore gold jewelry, although the most common jewelry options were made of bronze and jade, before they adopted sterling silver and gold jewelry, not to mention other jewelry varieties made of precious stones – most of their jewelry options were round-shaped, and they also made a variety of very fascinating brooches or pendentives.
Gold and silver were also used by The Aztecs, although they also incorporated feathers, shells, and rare stones.
The Incas also used gold, but more importantly, regarded gold as the ‘tear of the sun’ while regarding silver as the ‘tear of the moon because they believed that these two stones were abundant in the Inca areas.
They used gold and silver to make some of the most intriguing jewelry designs.
However, most of the archeological evidence uncovered points today to the fact that fine jewelry has been around for more than 25000 years and that fine jewelry has been one of the biggest and also the universal sources of wealth and adornment.
The finest varieties of jewelry have been present since the times of the Pharaohs to the Renaissance. Most of the older pieces are artifacts buried in the tombs as they were believed to be important to the dead and necessary for the mummified tombs because they would accompany the Pharaohs to the afterlife.
Other evidence of gold jewelry use includes the Middle Eastern and Western antiquities discovered from the Sumerian civilizations from the 3rd Century BCE, as uncovered from tombs at Ur, located in Sume, or modern-day Tall al-Muqayyar.
Jewelry from Sumerians were made of silver, gold, agates, carnelians, lapis lazuli, and chalcedony beads, among other materials. Amulets were made of gold and silver and lapis lazuli.
Tombs from the Ancient civilizations and discoveries from the 18th Dynasty also reveal treasures from the Egyptian sovereigns. Their creations show that these human civilizations were the masters of gold, as they made some of the finest quality gold jewelry.
The works of these goldsmiths are mostly found in leading museums today. The other empires that made the best of gold jewelry include the Persians in Bahrain, The Greeks, The Romans, the Byzantines, and the Crusades.
A look at Medieval European jewelry, for example, shows that the jewelry was more of accessories that were held in high regard by the owners and the societies of the time, and so, the jewelry designs deeply reflected earthly power and the passion for splendor.
These Medieval pieces were religiously stylish. On the other hand, the Renaissance period jewelry was designed to embrace the newly developed and more advanced stone-cutting techniques, and they were also bedazzled with a lot of glitters. Even in the Renaissance, gold was the most common material in jewelry making.
Gold was also quite popular because it showcased the wearer’s wealth while creating this dazzling effect against the common dark clothes at the time.
Note that in the Early Years between 1100 and 1400, gold jewelry was used to demonstrate social rankings and hierarchies.
In the Renaissance Era, between 1400 and 1700, when jewelry cutting designs had improved significantly, more options of gold jewelry were available, including large pendants, chains, and brooches with very intricate designs. In the 16th century, Poison Rings were created – these are the rings that were made during the periods of the lockets that have useful items like locks of hair, perfume, and pictures.
The poison rings were believed to have the power to facilitate the enemy’s death.
In the 17th century, gold and silver jewelry encrusted with pearls and gemstones that looked great with whites and pastels were popular.
Then in the 19th century, after the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s end of the reign, there was a shift in cultural changes, where gold and diamond jewelry were quite popular. In the 19th century, Victorian and mourning jewelry became much more popular. There also was the Arts and Crafts Movement from the 1800s.
20th-century jewelry made between 1800 and 1960 also featured fine options made of gold and silver, and as mentioned above, palladium jewelry’s use started in 1939.
The Art Nouveau styles also featured gold and silver jewelry. Early in the 20th century, Suffragette jewelry was popular as women wore jewelry as a form of revolt, ads they championed for the right to vote in public elections.
And so, the radical changes in fashion and the incorporation of more statement pieces represented the confidence in women and what they stood for.
Contemporary came to be in the 1960s, and since then, the jewelry options have been made of gold and silver for fine pieces. However, there are also more gold-plated options.
The fine jewelry from the 60s to date are all made of the best quality metals by little-known and high-end designer brands.
What is the difference between fine and Costume jewelry?
Fine jewelry is more durable and made of higher-quality precious stones and precious gemstones that last forever.
In contrast, costume jewelry is made of cheaper and lower-quality materials and non-precious metals, with the gold-plated options being the most common versions of costume jewelry.
Pros and cons of fine jewelry
- Everyday jewelry
- High-quality, durable jewelry options
- Most of these jewelry options last forever
- Fine jewelry is elegant and versatile
Fine jewelry Business and industry
There is a blooming fine jewelry industry, with various jewelry pieces made of the finest quality precious metals.
These jewelry pieces are held in high regard and worth a lot, which is why they are also considered great investment options.
Fine jewelry options are made of valuable materials that hold value in the long run.
So, the fine jewelry industry is ever blooming, with the jewelry varieties by the many different brands, all considered symbols of wealth and luxury.
Fine jewelry is the best quality jewelry on the market today, and there are several options, all made of the most durable and elegant precious metals and gemstones.
So, if you want jewelry that offers the best value for money, you should invest in fine jewelry.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.